After a couple of underwhelming performances Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-8-4, 11) [奥本貴之] really showed what he could do today, as he defeated Dynamic Kenji (11-4, 7) [木久健次] in impressive fashion, ending a strong run of form from Kenji who had rightfully earned a shot at the title.
From the opening round Okumoto lookd the better fight, his jab was sharp and his fontro from the southpaw stance was clear, whilst Kenji struggled to figure his man out. Kenji would look to land a straight right hand, but struggled to land it cleanly, with Okumoto firing off his own straights with much more success.
In round 4 a clash of heads left Okumoto cut, around the top of his right eye, but it didn't really give him any problems. Instead of being bothered by the cut Okumoto merely remained in control, taking the 5th round to secure a 50-45 lead on all 3 score cards when they were announce at the end of the 5th round.
Being in such a comfortable lead Okumoto could have cruised but instead he wanted to prove he was was a fighting champion and a combination in round 6 sent Kenji to the canvas where he took the 10 count.
After the bout Kenji seemed to realise he was out of his depth whilst Okumoto, for the first time in a long time, looked like he had made improvements, and Masaya Motoishi, the chairman of the Green Tsuda gym also compliment his fighter, recognising his development and growth. Following 3 poor performances from Okumoto this was just what he needed to prove himself as a champion and build his reputation, which was certainly in need of a boost.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans in Osaka will get the chance to see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (22-8-4, 10) [奥本貴之] taking on the under-rated Dynamic Kenji (11-3, 7) [木久健次] in his next defense.
On the scales the champion came in at around 114.7lbs and looked in good shape for what is his third defense of the belt. Kenji, fighting in his first title bout, was a little heavier, coming in on the divisional limit and looking strong and powerful.
Okumoto stated that he was really excited. He's not looked great in his defenses so far and although a talented fighter there clearly hasn't been the typical boost we see when a fighter wins a title. Kenji on the other hand seemed determined to win for his gym and showed real desire, though he is stepping up massively for this bout.
Related - Okumoto defends Japanese title against Kenji
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today in Osaka the Green Tsuda gym announced their next show, Crash Boxing volume 18. The show, set for August 4th at the EDION Arena Osaka, in Osaka City, is a pretty stacked one with a couple of title fights, the next bout of a former Japanese champion and the next bout of a very highly regarded Thai prospect.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (22-8-4, 10) [奥本貴之] defending his title against Dynamic Kenji (11-3, 7) [木久健次] in a mouth watering clash. The champion, seeking his third defense, will be looking to build from close bouts against Hiroyuki Kudaka, Masayoshi Hashizume and Yuta Matsuo whilst Kenji will be getting his first title fight. Neither man looked great last time out, but they should put on an absolute thriller here in a bout that neither man can really afford to lose.
The other title bout on this card will see Toshiki Shimomachi (9-1-2, 5) [下町俊貴] battle against Kenta Nomura (6-2, 3) [野村健太] in an excellent match up for the Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight title. The winner of this will get their first title and it's a bout that we're expecting to be fantastic, with two under-rated youngsters meeting in a big bout for this stage in their career. Of course a Japanese Youth title doesn't always put you on the fast track, we would be surprised to not have the winner move towards a proper national title in the years to come.
In notable supporting bouts we'll see former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (18-5, 15) [矢田良太] and former Japanese amateur standout Kazuki Tanaka (10-2, 7) [田中一樹]. Neither man has had their up coming opponents named yet, though both are in the rebuilding process, with Yada wanting to rebuild from his title loss and Tanaka looking to secure his second win since a defeat to Keita Kurihara.
Arguably the most interesting part of the undercard is the Green Tsudada debut of Thai teenager Thanongsak Simsri (9-0, 9), who is being referred to as "Srisaket II" in the Thai press. Simsri signed with Green Tsuda earlier this month and is tipped as something of a prodigy, so we're really looking forward to what he can do with a Japanese gym behind him. Sadly his opponent, for an 8 rounder, has also not yet been confirmed.
Earlier today at the EDION Arena Osaka fans were able to see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (22-8-4, 10) [奥本 貴之] narrowly retain his title, with a majority decision win over mandatory challenger Yuta Matsuo (15-4-1, 8) [松尾雄太].
The fight saw Matsuo press the action early on, bringing the heat to the champion who tried to use his footwork and jab to gain control of the action. It was a nice boxing from Okumoto but it did little to force Matsuo to back off, and instead Matsuo tightened his guard and pressed with more intensity, looking to get inside and get his hooks into play. Okumoto realised he had to up his work and did well, putting more snap on his shots.
A headclash in round 5 saw blood being introduced into the bout, but it played little into the overall fight, which was really finely balanced when the scores were announced the following round. The opening scoring was 48-47 to Okumoto, twice, and 48-47 to Matsuo, giving us a wonderfully balanced bout as we entered the second half.
The second half of the fight saw Matsuo again look to be the man pressuring but Okumoto handled it well, forcing the challenger to back off, using his speed to land and get away. It was what Matsuo was needing to break away but Matsuo refused to roll over an lose, picking up his own pace in round 9.
It felt like Okumoto had perhaps just done enough to gain the lead as we entered the final round, but neither seemed confident and they both went for it in a thrilling final 3 minutes. It was the best round of the fight, and was chaotic action with neither confident of the win and wanting to land shots that could secure their victory.
With neither man having been down and the action being very much tit for tat it was clear the scores were going to be close and could have gone either way. One judge scored it 95-95, a draw, the second 96-94 to Okumoto whilst the third had it 97-93 to Okumoto, who successfully made his second defense of the belt.
Matsuo will come again, and we suspect he'll get another shot sooner rather than later. This experience will do him the world of good, despite losing. As for Okumoto we don't imagine his reign will last long, and these close bouts he's been having, this is the third successive ultra-close bout he's had, will catch up with him sooner or later.
Tomorrow fight fans in Osaka will be able to see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-4, 10) [奥本 貴之] defending his title against mandatory challenger Yuta Matsuo (15-3-1, 8) [松尾雄太].
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in, and both came in comfortably under the 115lbs limit.
On the scales the champion was 114.4lbs, well under the limit, whilst the challenger was slightly heavier, at around 114.7lbs. Despite both being comfortably under the limit neither looked like they had over drained and in fact both men looked in excellent condition and calm for their first bout of 2019.
Related - Okumoto hunts next defense, takes on mandatory Matsuo
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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